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December 20, 2014

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Sandoval seeks urgent meeting to hasten funds for psychiatric hospital

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This is the front sign for the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday called for an emergency meeting of the Interim Finance Committee to speed up funding to make improvements at the state's troubled psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas.

The move came shortly after an independent commission issued a preliminary denial of accreditation to the Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital, which has been gripped by accusations it has improperly discharged mentally ill patients onto Greyhound buses to be shipped out of state.

"This afternoon, the governor's office requested a formal IFC meeting in the very near future and we are hopeful the Legislature will agree," Sandoval's spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said Wednesday.

The Interim Finance Committee is a panel of lawmakers who approve state spending while the Legislature is not in session.

This year, lawmakers approved $3 million in contingency funds to make improvements at Rawson-Neal. The interim committee must approve the funds before they are disbursed.

This week, the Joint Commission issued a preliminary denial of accreditation, first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The accrediting agency, according to its website, found nearly two dozen violations, including staff lacking the competency to carry out their duties, problems with discharge procedures, and failure to provide follow up care.

According to the commission's website, a preliminary denial of accreditation results when an immediate threat to health and safety of patients is discovered, a hospital fails to resolve problems discovered in a regularly scheduled review or becomes noncompliant with commission standards.

"This decision is subject to review and appeal before the determination to deny accreditation," the website said.

Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, chairwoman of the Interim Finance Committee, confirmed she received Sandoval's request and is working on it.

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